Poem – Regret

This is a poem that I did as a prompt in a poetry workshop for my MFA. I’m a fiction writer, and this is unedited, so be kind. 🙂

My biggest regret was never knowing his name.
The sun was fading
as the car slowed to a stop.
Lights were fading
the golden yellow sun fading too
like the dashboard of our car
controlled the sunset.
It was cold.
The problem was simple,
my father assured me
but we called AAA.
They could help.
The tow truck took hours.
We walked the highway
looking for a mile marker
while I prayed we wouldn’t go to jail
stuck behind the chainlink fence
I had seen on our drive
for having our car break down.

Eventually a cop pulled up behind us.
I was confused.
He came to my side of the car.
“Everything alright?”
Yes, we said. The tow truck was coming.
He asked if I wanted to sit in the patrol care with him.
No, I said. I’m fine.
He asked again, and again,
his insistence alien to me.
Why did he keep asking? Why didn’t he believe me?
I convinced him to stop, finally
and he left.

I told me father later what had happened, as I remembered it.
I asked him why.
He was astounded.
My Javertian saviour
thought I was being kidnapped.

I wanted to give him a medal.

Here are two rewritten versions as well:

I never knew / his name / the cop
asking / asking / asking if I needed help
No/no/I insisted no/I’m fine/leave me be
The car is dead/help/coming/I’m fine
I never knew he thought the danger was the man next to me.


I never knew his, asking
asking, asking if I, help

no, no, no, leave me
dead, help is coming

I never knew he thought
all the while, next to me


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